Pass Creek, BC
Located at: Castlegar Rotary Club
“This is my interpretation of an ancient White Sturgeon. This pre-historic beauty makes its home right here, in the Columbia River.”
Devoted Sculpturewalk fans are no doubt familiar with Kevin Kratz and his (usually in tandem with James Karthein) award-winning natural studies done in metal. Twice the pair has taken home the People’s Choice Award. This time he is entered solo and his approach is a bit different, even while the subject is a long time resident of the river.
He has sculpted a sturgeon from industrial metal waste salvaged around the Columbia Valley. These ancient fish have lived and survived in the Columbia River since time immemorial, and have done so even with the encroachment of “civilization” through dams, power generation stations and industrial/residential growth the length of it.
Once abundant, the white sturgeon has suffered a serious decline in numbers due to environmental impacts. A coalition of Canadian and American stakeholders is engaged in an effort to bring the ancient fish back from the brink. So, even while threatened the sturgeon continue to survive.
“I want to connect the idea that these prehistoric creatures have been confronted by human Industry and have adapted to it,” says Kratz. “ That is why I am building it blind, no drawings or real idea of what it will look like when I am done. Kind of how industry has blindly left behind its waste.
“I am manipulating the industrial debris in my studio by heating and hammering it to shapes that conform to my abstract vision or version of a Columbia River sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). I saw one wrestled to shore by an angler over at Portuguese Banks near the Hugh Keenleyside Dam. This sparked the idea. The more I thought about it the stronger I felt about the decision to create without detailed planning, scale drawings or models.”
The three foot high sturgeon is a work of art. Curving over the two foot tall support, Kratz’s sturgeon is ancient looking – as befits its existence for over 175 million years. He has realized the spiny scutes and long distinctive tapering head – along with the two barbels on either side used to sense food – in his conceptualized piece.